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Peanut Butter: Go Ahead and Lick the Spoon

Filed Under: Health Foods at 1:12 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Peanut ButterPeanut butter is my comfort food. When I’m in a mood, stressed out or dying for a calorie-fix, I turn, not to chocolate, but to peanut butter. The thick, sticky substance satisfies in any form – on an apple, cracker or celery stalk, sandwiched between two slices of bread, swirled into a cookie or all by its lonesome, on a spoon. Sadly, the calories and fat found in peanut butter have given it a bad reputation. It is often viewed as an indulgence, a treat and one that should be eaten rarely. However, I, along with many others, dispute that idea.  Peanut butter can be a part of a healthy diet. In fact, it can help maintain your healthy diet, because when it comes to peanut butter, it is quality not quantity that counts.

Yes, peanut butter has fat and calories – about 16 grams of fat and 190 calories per serving. But, most of the fat is good fat, and behind the calories, lurk tons of nutrients. Peanut butter is filled with monounsaturated fat, polyunsaturated fat, fiber, protein, magnesium, vitamin E, folate and potassium. The fiber and the protein alone are going to fill you up quickly and keep you satisfied longer.  You’ll curb your hunger with two simple tablespoons. And while you’re feeling full, you’ll be fighting heart disease and high blood pressure. But the best part is that you’ll have eaten something that tastes phenomenal! You’ll feel like you’re treating yourself with every spoonful. As such, your diet won’t coincide with deprivation. You’ll be less likely to cave when indulgences are offered, and you’ll maintain your diet and weight loss.

So, put peanut butter back in its seat of honor, but make sure you choose the right jar.   As one of America’s favorite foods , the grocery stores are stocked with options. You can get low-fat, organic, smooth or crunchy. You can choose from the classics – JIF, Skippy and Peter Pan – or buy a lesser known brand.  It can get pretty confusing and you’re likely to just reach and grab, unless you remember the following: First, forget low-fat. As I said, peanut butter is mostly good fat. Besides, reducing the fat levels generally means upping something else, like sugar and price, which you want to avoid. You can also cut back on sugar by buying the natural or organic products. They generally have a limited amount of added ingredients. Then, read the sodium levels. Salt is never something you want in excess, and in peanut butter’s case the sodium will detract from the nutty taste rather than add to it. You’ll miss out on the best part. Finally, leave the last of your decision to your taste buds. Dip the spoon in, sample and decide which is best. You’ll feel decadent yet healthy.

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